Involvement of the Capsular GalXM-induced IL-17 Cytokine in the Control of Cryptococcus Neoformans Infection

Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 6;8(1):16378. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-34649-4.


Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungus that can cause lethal brain infections in immunosuppressed individuals. Infection usually occurs via the inhalation of a spore or desiccated yeast which can then disseminate from the lung to the brain and other tissues. Dissemination and disease is largely influence by the production of copious amounts of cryptococcal polysaccharides, both which are secreted to the extracellular environment or assembled into a thick capsule surrounding the cell body. There are two important polysaccharides: glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) and galactoxylomannan, also called as glucuronoxylomanogalactan (GXMGal or GalXM). Although GXM is more abundant, GalXM has a more potent modulatory effect. In the present study, we show that GalXM is a potent activator of murine dendritic cells, and when co-cultured with T cells, induces a Th17 cytokine response. We also demonstrated that treating mice with GalXM prior to infection with C. neoformans protects from infection, and this phenomenon is dependent on IL-6 and IL-17. These findings help us understand the immune biology of capsular polysaccharides in fungal pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cryptococcosis / immunology
  • Cryptococcosis / metabolism*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / metabolism
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / physiology*
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects
  • Fungal Capsules / metabolism*
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-17 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Th17 Cells / cytology
  • Th17 Cells / drug effects


  • Interleukin-17
  • Polysaccharides
  • galactoxylomannan
  • Interferon-gamma